Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Journal of a Living Lady #362

Nancy White Kelly

The year of 2009 may go down as one of Tiger’s worst years, but it will certainly be remembered as one of my best ones. With metastatic cancer, any full year past diagnosis can be considered a good year. In spite of the big C, I look back and think of all that transpired these last twelve months and I am truly grateful. Nobody in my family died. Granted, Buddy and I lost a couple of good friends, but only temporarily. My Christian faith keeps me up-beat, knowing that this life is not the end, just a new beginning in foreverland.

We now enter the second decade of the new millennium. Remember Y2K and all the up-roar ten years ago? Most people were hoarding beans and rice. My unsuspecting spouse never knew that I had cases of diet cola in the attic, my one addiction that he has never liked. My response to his nagging is “Choose your poison.”

At least my obsession is fizzy caffeine in a can and not some gritty-orange fiber drink that you must mix. The last sound I hear every night, and certainly not a romantic one, is that of a rattling metal spoon in a glass of water. Gulp. Gulp.

A decade ago the Y2K bug was considered a clicking time bomb for all major computer programs. When the minute hand ticked Jan 1, 2000, no great catastrophe occurred. Almost every bank worked fine, no major power outages were reported, airplanes still flew and the whole world went on with its normal life. The sky didn’t fall after all.

Now I hear buzz about the year 2012. True, the Mayan calendar ends on 12/21/2012. The dooms-day speculation is surging. While I do believe in an up-coming apocalypse, we must part ways when discussing dates. My Bible says that not even the angels know when this event will occur.
Until then, I live day by day, appreciating the good that occurred in the past year. There were several notable markers. My cancer scans were stable. No new tumors were found.

I wrote a short essay and won a trip to London and to the Holy Land, accompanied by son Charlie. The Ye Ole Coin Shop had its best year thus far. A fresh coat of paint improved the look of our aging house. We made several new friends. The list could go on and on.

I dare not gloat. We have several family members and acquaintances who have lost jobs. Some may lose their homes. It is our Christian duty to help the truly needy. I had much rather be the giver than the givee any day.

In my six and a half decades of living, I have come to believe that some of the most generous people are among the poorest. A true judge of character is how a person treats the down-and-outer and the least among them. To whom do we readily speak? Where do we sit when there is a choice of seats?

Recently a customer bought a widow’s mite from our coin shop for a friend. It was a tiny piece of embossed metal, a genuine, but crudely stamped Roman coin from the historical era of Jesus. The mite was all the poor lady had to give and she gave it cheerfully. Compare that to the ostentatious announcements of generosity by our contemporaries. Giving to worthy causes is good, of course, but must celebrities promote their philanthropy so publically?

Two of the best gifts I received this year were semi-anonymous, no recognition wanted. One was a check for $500 that helped a young man fulfill a dream. The other was a donation to use for heat which brought grateful tears from the sick recipient. You can’t out-give God.

Happy New Year, readers. In 2010, dare to share.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Journal of a Living Lady #361

Nancy White Kelly

Thanksgiving has passed. I secretly vowed to transfer the joy of preparing Thanksgiving dinner to my two daughter-in-laws since it is written in stone that everybody comes to Granny’s for Christmas.

For genuinely good reasons, the daughter-in-laws escaped the intimidating task of cooking the big meal. I was again the main chef. Buddy did his part to make sure that it was a memorable day. Late Thanksgiving Eve, he gave Rocky, our German Shepherd, the huge bucket of sage-covered cornbread, minus the cooked celery and onions that remained in the fridge.

It was an honest mistake. I use that same pink plastic pan everyday to hold our meal left-overs which Buddy adds to Rocky’s dry food in the evening. That pink bucket was a take-home gift from my last stay in the hospital.

A trip to the grocery store for corn meal and some hasty cooking at high temperature brought a new batch of cornbread in time to make the dressing. In spite of the tenuous beginning, Thanksgiving turned out to be a good day full of good food and laughs.

For two weeks Buddy has dutifully finished every version of turkey casserole imaginable without complaining only to see me bring in another big bird for its turn in the oven next week. Tori and Ginger may get their chance to cook in 2010. Perhaps I could lighten up the occasion by doing what a lady friend did one year.

Susan was asked by daughter Lisa to help prepare her first ever Thanksgiving turkey. On the big day, Lisa found she had no cranberries in the cupboard. She rushed to the store to get some.

As if on cue, Susan mischievously took action. She removed a Rock Cornish hen from her big purse. She hastily removed the raw stuffing from the turkey and placed the little Cornish pullet inside. She packed the open hole with some of the displaced dressing.

When Lisa returned from the store, she placed the turkey in the oven. Mother and daughter merrily chatted while the men watched football. Soon Lisa’s sister arrived with her husband and two children. The magic hour arrived.

Susan placed the green beans and assorted dishes on the table. Facing the counter, Lisa began to scoop out the cooked stuffing from the turkey breast into a fancy bowl. Her spoon wouldn’t go further. She couldn't figure out what was stopping it. Susan gleefully offered assistance. She put her hand in the turkey and pulled out the Rock Cornish hen. Lisa screamed and jumped back.

“What have I done?" Lisa wailed as tears welled.

”I just cooked a pregnant turkey.”

As the laughter roared Lisa’s husband explained that turkeys lay eggs. Besides, Tom Turkey was a male!

Every Thanksgiving there ought to be a dog house handy for the likes of Buddy and Susan.

Merry Christmas!